Discussion in 'Jazz / Commercial' started by knf jazz cat, Dec 27, 2003.

  1. knf jazz cat

    knf jazz cat New Friend

    Dec 16, 2003
    I need help building a library of licks in my head. Can somebody give me some advice as to what I should do to memorize more ideas and expand my repetoire.
  2. jazzalive

    jazzalive New Friend

    Nov 9, 2003
    SF Bay Area
    The obvious answer is to listen to the greats, and not so greats, and transpose and memorize.

    Also, I'd recommend the following two books... Bebop Bible by Les Wise, 1982 and published by Robert E. Hutchinson and 1001 Jazz Licks A Complete Jazz Vocabulary for the Improvising Musician by Jack Shneidman, 2000 Cherry Lane Music Company.

    Good luck.
  3. TangneyK

    TangneyK Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    Get Jamey Aebersold's "ii-V7-I" book. He's got a bunch of bop licks in there that are really tasty.

    Also, transcriptions are a tremendous resource. You can use ones others have done (a great site for that is ), or create some of your own--but start out simple!!! Chet Baker and (earlier) Miles Davis are perfect.

    And, as always: LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN!!! We are kind of like computers in the fact that if good information comes in, usually good information comes out, and vice versa. If all you listen to is Christina Aguwhatever-her-name-is, it will come out in your playing. I try and listen to as much jazz as possible, even playing it at a low volume when I am sleeping (the hope being I may learn something subconsciously). Of course I love listening to other types of music, but I'm SERIOUS about PLAYING jazz.

    I hope this helps...

  4. knf jazz cat

    knf jazz cat New Friend

    Dec 16, 2003
    Thanks for the suggestions. I already do transcribe and I spend much of my time listening only to jazz. The "jazz vocabulary" books seem like a good bet to help me out. Thanks
  5. SammyFlow

    SammyFlow New Friend

    Jan 6, 2011
    Nothing has been as beneficial to building my vocabulary as composition. Write something, and make sure you finish it. Even if you think it's not good, ESPECIALLY if you think its not good. Learning what not to play is, to me, MORE important than what to play. Descent ideas are more important than one great idea that turns into a litany of boring ones. Try to accomplish something new that you dig every day. Make improvisation a personal endeavor within the context of ensemble playing. Transcription is important for ear training and for technical improvement. However, Cliff, Freddie, Miles, Louis, Wynton, Peter Evans and the like are great because you know who they are from the first or second bar and the flood of memories of their past successes excites you- you're rooting for them. Sound like you and be confident in who you are becoming personally and artistically. Its much more rewarding to have told my story than to have approximated someone else's.
  6. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011
  7. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    Definitely lots of good information.

    This thread is over 7 years old, so i don't think the OP will be thanking anyone...
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I also find the Jazz Trumpet Licks link helpful. Thanks TrumpetMD, as I would have recommended the same. And if you cannot find the tune transcription you want, get out a pencil and staff paper, find the lick you want from an original recording, then write it down, note by note, bar by bar, then play it in all the keys. And if you really want to take that lick and freshen it up, try converting it to another mode, add flatted 5ths to the blues licks... etc.
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I am responding not as a jazz improviser, but as a listener to jazz, and I hate solos made up of nothing but licks. For me, good improvisation is not a "cut and paste" art. I revere those who have original ideas and develop them in a solo.

    Learn scales, learn licks, forget them and then create.

  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I am responding as a jazz improviser, and while making up entire solos of licks would not be pleasing to my ear, learning licks is a vital part of developing an improvisational vocabularily. It also incorporates a part of jazz history, reconnecting with roots that others have laid down. Once we go through various licks (rarely do we copy them straight out), we transend from an understanding that these licks are only the beginning, and then we develop from them.

    I myself learned from playing sax licks. They are stylistically different from trumpet licks. Why this is so is master's thesis material. My theory is it relates to the positioning of the keys were right and left hand patterns fall into a sequence. We trumpet players have 3 keys that function in no patterned progression, hence, the licks are different.

    By studying sax licks, on trumpet, I developed a unique style that used patterns based on sax instrumentation, then converted this over to trumpet. It is a unique style, give it a try and increase your trumpet improvisational vocabulary.

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